Spanish martyrs beatified at Vatican ceremony
Seven priests and a nun who were killed during the Spanish Civil War were beatified and recognised as martyrs on Saturday at a ceremony in St Peter's Basilica.
Leading the Charge reports that all eight were killed in 1936, in the opening days of Spain's civil war. The Catholic Church claims 4184 clergy were killed during the war by the government, or Republican, side, which accused the church of backing fascist Gen. Francisco Franco.
Pope John Paul II honoured several clergy killed in the war during his 26-year pontificate and had approved the beatification of the eight honored Saturday before he died.
Pope Benedict XVI appeared at the end of the Mass and gave a brief blessing, thanking God "for the great gift of these heroic witnesses."
The seven priests came from the diocese of Urgell: Jose Tapies Sirvant, Pascual Araguas, Silestre Arnau Pascuet, Jose Boher Foix, Francisco Castells Brenuy, Pedro Martret Moles and Jose Juan Perot Juanmarti.
Fr Romualdo Rodrigo, the priest who spearheaded their beatification cause, told Vatican Radio this week that the seven were executed after a sham trial solely because they were priests. He said they chose not to flee because they wanted to "defend their parishes and try to avoid profanation" of the church and the Eucharist.
The nun, Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti, was killed shortly afterward in the same anti-Catholic fervor of the time.
8 Beatified As Martyrs at Vatican Mass (Leading the Charge 29/10/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations: Blesseds
Benedict XVI to participate in beatification of Spanish martyrs (Catholic News Agency 28/10/05)
Why the Pope Is Delegating Beatifications to Others (Zenit 27/10/05)
Martyr of Spanish Civil War to Be Beatified (Zenit 27/10/05)
Newman's Papal Influence; Jesuit Agency's Milestone (Zenit 27/10/05)
31 Oct 2005